150 Delegates fill the room, waiting in anticipation for the day’s motivational program to begin. I stand at the back of the crowd, all miked up and ready to strut my stuff. Before introducing me, the MC announces a special guest singer from the Cape Flats and invites the audience to stand. They pick up little pieces of paper containing the words to our anthem “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”. With no backing music, the singer begins the anthem, her beautiful voice hauntingly leading the group in emotional song. Without warning, tears begin to roll down my face. Tears of joy, tears of pride, tears of gratitude. I am reminded, once again, why I love these people, this Country, this Continent of Africa.
I recall singing the “old” anthem at school with no passion, going through the motions, feeling no emotion at all. I remember how just a few years ago, many South Africans resisted the new anthem, refusing to accept the modified version. And I realise how far we have come, when the nation unites in indignation at the butchering of the anthem by brother Ras Dumisani in France.
I recall the comments that our new flag was too colourful and busy and looked like a pair of Y-Front underpants. Today I see our flag flown with pride at events such as the FIFA world cup pool draw, watched by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. I see a nation, at once troubled and divided, uniting behind our new symbols reflecting unity, diversity and the desire for a better life.
And as the year draws to a close, I feel the fatigue of a long 12 months. My first reaction is to think it has been an “Annus Horribilus” (Latin for Horrible Year.) But as you know, it is in my nature to seek the positives and see the glass as half full. So I take a deep breath and make time to really reflect upon what has been positive and what I am grateful for. It is at first difficult, my thoughts are blocked. Then suddenly, surprisingly, a stream of positives begins to flow through my mind. Briefly, here are some of them:
On a personal note:
- I am grateful that my business has actually improved through the downturn and emerged leaner as a result, ready to capitalise on the upturn when it comes.
- I am grateful to all my loyal customers, who have continued to support me even though their training budgets have been slashed. Thank you so much!
- I am grateful to our IT Guy, who organised our database, redesigned the website and demystified many of our IT challenges. Thanks Francois.
- I am grateful to my Consciousness Coach, who taught me that if we hold an important question in mind for long enough; we will become the living answer to that question. Thanks Michele.
- I am grateful to the founders of World Alive, for designing the most powerful personal development program available in South Africa and electing me to run the Cape Town Office. Thank you for believing in me.
- I am grateful to my wife and family, who have continued to support me in my journey to make a difference. I love you guys so much.
- I am grateful to my peers and colleagues, who continually challenge and support me to reach greater heights of awareness.
- I am grateful to you who read my newsletters, and give me so much valuable feedback. THANK YOU!
- I am grateful that this year has caused me to deeply evaluate what is really important and where to spend more of my quality time.
On a broader scale:
- I am grateful that humanity is realising how urgently we need to make dramatic changes to save this precious planet. I am confident that humankind has the intelligence and creativity to find ways to do this.
- I am grateful that we still have some honest policemen who risk their lives every day, for very little pay, in order to protect us.
- I am grateful for the teachers, doctors and nurses in public service who believe that making a difference and serving others is more important than money.
- I am grateful that we still have some officials and politicians (yes we do!) who fulfil the role of being public servants without greedily stuffing their pockets. Thank goodness for you!
How about you? Have you taken the time to reflect upon what you can be grateful for? Can you identify the positives from the past year? Or are you stuck in the belief that it was all bad?
The trick is to step outside the box, to go deep within and ask the question: What went right this year? For me, my relationships, my personal growth, my business, the country, the planet. What did I learn, how did I grow? What will I do differently next year as a result?
Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude. It makes you more positive and opens up space for you to receive more. It is better to have a little, and appreciate it a lot, than to have a lot and appreciate it a little (or not at all!)
In closing, I wish you and your loved ones a safe, relaxing and joyful festive season.
Please drive safely – enjoy the Ride! Remember that statistically you are 300 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than as the victim of a violent incident in South Africa.
Tags: 2009, Attitude of Gratitude, Cape Town, Motivation Speaker, Motivational Speaker, Motivational Speaker Cape Town, National Anthem, Proudly South African, Sales Trainer, Sales Trainer Cape Town, Sales Training, Sales Training Cape Town, Sales Training Specialist